A Multitude of Constitutions? European Constitutional Pluralism in Question

WP 2 – Constitutional politics 

WP 2 events

Oslo, 13-14 January 2011

Venue: Georg Sverdrup’s Building (University Library), Blindern campus

Organised by ARENA – Centre for European Studies in cooperation with the Research Programme on Democracy at the University of Oslo.


Workshop summary (D70) (pdf)


The workshop is one of seven parallel workshops organised within the 2nd International Conference on Democracy as Idea and Practice.

Workshop 1: A Multitude of Constitutions? European Constitutional Pluralism in Question is organised within RECON’s work package 2, which deals with (a) the constitutionalisation of the EU, (b) the Europeanisation of national constitutions, and (c) comparisons of constitutionalism in the EU and in other selected entities. Read more on the research objectives of WP 2  and on the overall research objectives of RECON.

Workshop coordinators: Agustín José Menéndez (University of León) and John Erik Fossum (ARENA, University of Oslo)

This workshop will discuss the merits of the theory of constitutional synthesis, recently developed by the workshop coordinators, and exposed in their forthcoming monograph The Constitution’s Gift. The key component of the theory is the regulative ideal of a common constitutional law, of a constitution made up of a collective of national constitutions; which in their view makes up the deep constitution of the European Union. Constitutional synthesis is made up of normative integration and institutional consolidation, which together make up for a distinct constitutional dynamic.

Practical information


Programme (11.01.11)

Download pdf

Thursday, 13 January 2011  


‘Democratization through Higher Education’

Conference plenary session, for further details, see the Democracy as Idea and Practice Conference page




Constitutional Synthesis as the Constitutional Theory of the European Union (paper)
John Erik Fossum, ARENA, University of Oslo and Agustín José Menéndez, University of León

First session: Polity perspectives

Chair: Carlos Closa, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC)


Revolutionary and Evolutionary Constitutionalization in the Evolution of the European Union
Hauke Brunkhorst, University of Flensburg


The Incoherence of (Strong) Popular Sovereignty
Lars Vinx, Bilkent University


Comments by Peter Burgess, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)


General discussion


Coffee break


Second session: Constitutional perspectives

Chair: Mads Andenæs, University of Oslo


The Legitimacy of a European Normative Order: Legitimacy through Legal Reasoning
Tor Inge Harbo, EUI/University of Oslo


Unity in Diversity as Europe’s Vocation and Conflicts Law as Europe’s Constitutional Form
Christian Joerges, ZERP, University of Bremen


Comments by Lars Blichner, University of Bergen


Coffee break


General discussion


Conference dinner at Grefsenkollen (upon invitation)
See the Democracy as Idea and Practice Conference page

Friday, 14 January 2011  

Third session: Legal perspectives

Chair: Tor Inge Harbo, EUI/University of Oslo


The Constitution’s Gift to the European Union: A Donkey or a Trojan Horse?
Jörg Luther, Università degli Studi del Piemonte Orientale


End of Empire and the Foundation of European Law: The ECtHR, the ECJ and the European Legal Field (1950-1980)
Mikael Rask Madsen, University of Copenhagen


Mapping the Overlapping Spheres: Constitutional Pluralism vs. Constitutional Synthesis
Ian Cooper, ARENA, University of Oslo


Coffee break


General discussion 



‘A typical European way of looking at politics?’

Conference roundtable discussion on Prof. Johan P. Olsen’s recent book Governing through Institution Building. For further details, see the Democracy as Idea and Practice Conference page



Fourth session: Applied perspectives

Chair: Ian Cooper, ARENA, University of Oslo


Comment on The Constitution’s Gift by Fossum & Menéndez
Theresa Scavenius, University of Copenhagen


The European Union Towards Administrative Integration: A Further Step in the ‘Constitutional Synthesis’ Theory?
Fernando Losada, CoE, University of Helsinki


General discussion




Workshop 1 dinner at Bølgen & Moi, Tjuvholmen
Common departure from Rica Holberg Hotel, meeting point in the lobby at 18:30


For practical information on workshop 1, please contact Solveig Holmøyvik, ARENA

For practical information on the Democracy as Idea and Practice Conference, please contact Anette Lislerud, Democracy Programme, University of Oslo